With the pandemic has come new changes for all of us- in the way we live, interact with others and most importantly, work.

Now that most people are working remotely, it has become more common for homeowners to employ the services of contractors to create home-office spaces to work from home. While this is indeed a reasonable decision to make, there are chances that in some situations, the contractor won’t deliver the type of work expected by the homeowner. What are the next steps you can take?

In our post today, we will explore mediation as an avenue to resolving home renovation disputes and some of the benefits that it offers.

What is Mediation?

Mediation is a method of dispute resolution where parties come together to settle their disputes with the aid of an independent mediator. This mediator tries to help both the homeowner and contractor reach an amicable settlement of their issues.

Advantages of Mediation

Mediation offers several advantages over the traditional court litigation system. These are considered below:

  1. Faster: Unlike the court system, which is usually clogged with cases, mediation can help parties resolve their disputes quickly, especially considering the urgency of most renovation projects.
  2. Affordable: Going to court can be really expensive. Mediation however allows the homeowner and contractor to share in the cost of dispute resolution.
  3. Confidential: Usually, homeowners will not want society knowing their personal business, so mediation offers the privacy that the court system generally does not.
  4. Facilitating Understanding: Most times, the dispute is about a misunderstanding of a clause in the contract. Mediation can help both parties understand each other and communicate effectively.
  5. Flexible and informal: Finally, the mediation system is flexible and convenient for parties to participate in.

Despite these listed advantages, a mediation process is non-binding. Therefore, the homeowner and contractor must decide to make the process work for them, so that the homeowner’s agitation is eased, and the contractor’s reputation is preserved.

Renovation disputes regularly occur, but they can be managed well when the renovation contract provides a term for mediation to resolve any disputes that may arise. In the alternative parties can consider other dispute resolution mechanics as described by Construction Executive in this article. Where a homeowner and contractor are still unable to resolve their dispute through mediation, they could bring their case before the Ontario Small Claims Court, which has the jurisdiction to hear claims up to $35,000. Litigation, unless the matter is extremely urgent should not necessarily be the first option – it is best to seek other alternatives before turning to the courts, if you can.

For any questions on what clauses to provide for in your renovation contract, you can book a free consultation with Northview Law available at this link or you can contact us at 416-639-7639 to discuss any questions you have. We look forward to hearing from you soon.